By Caridad

HAVANA TIMES – You wake up early, the birds are already chirping outside.

You couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. It was hot all night and mosquitos relished in buzzing around your ears as if they were professional trumpet players.

You switch on the electric stove and start making coffee. There hasn’t been any gas for 5 months, but you still have water to make coffee.

The power goes out. (Sh**) Don’t worry, it was just a “flicker”, it’ll come back on, you can have your coffee.

You switch on the computer, working from home has been the only option during the economic crisis and pandemic. CANTV cables (from the phone company) still haven’t been stolen from you, so you are a lot more privileged than thousands of other Venezuelans.

Working between blackouts

You sit down to work while you have your coffee, but before you can send the first email, the Internet goes out. (Sh**) Don’t worry, it’s just a “flicker”, you can send your email now… but then another flicker comes, and another one, and it’s almost midday and you’ve barely done anything.

It’s almost noon, better cook something.

The power goes out.

For good this time.

It doesn’t really go out. It’s cut.

You look at your wood stove in a bad mood. It rained yesterday and there’s still humidity in the air, but you have no other choice.

You spend the whole afternoon cooking food for the day… and for everyone who lives with you (people or animals). You really are very lucky to live in a house and not an apartment, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to cook and eat until the power comes back.

You rest a little in the hammock at 6 or so, with your eyes burning from the wood smoke. You begin to fall asleep when the fridge begins to hum again and tells you that the power is back.

Get to work! you say all excited, but the reality is you don’t have much energy by this time. You power through though anyway. You filter some coffee again to wake yourself up, you wait for the Internet to come back on, and you manage to work most of the night, your head dropping every now and then.

The next day

The following morning, you wake up in a rush, the blackout will come in the evening today.

You have to cook on the electric stove early so you don’t have to depend on the wooden stove. You have to go out to buy some things, there isn’t any cash on the street but you can pay with your debit card at almost every store. It’s a good day today, the Internet is working and you can pay without any problems.

You rush back home, to cook, to try and work on the computer, before the electricity is cut at 5 or 6 PM until 11 or midnight… or whenever they want to put it back on.

Sometimes, the power is only cut for two hours. Those nights, your neighbors cry out with happiness like children who get an ice cream after dinner.

But today isn’t one of those days. You’re in the middle of the blackout, shooing away mosquitoes, shouting curse words and fanning yourself with a bit of cardboard, working out that if the power doesn’t go out the entire day tomorrow, you might be able to finish the project you’ve been working on for a week and even buy a bit of ice cream to celebrate… but you’ll have to eat it all in one go so it doesn’t melt with the blackout.

Read more dairy posts from Caridad


Caridad

Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

2 thoughts on “Diary of a Day in Venezuela

  • With a little help from the Bank of England, the US Treasury and Trump’s grab bag of vice grip sanctions. Ever set foot in Venezuela, Scotty ?

  • Takes Nicholas Maduro to achieve the conditions described in a country with the largest oil reserves in the world.

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